1. Health
Paul Rogers

Milk Not Commercial Protein Drinks Your Best Choice After Weights

By June 4, 2010

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I've never been a strong advocate of packaged protein drinks, powders and supplements. Even though the advice to consume some protein and carbohydrate after a workout is well-founded, you can get this effective combination in plain milk -- or even flavored milk if you need a little more carbohydrate after a strenuous session.

Now, Consumer Reports has analyzed a range of commercial protein powders and liquids and found that some have excessive quantities of toxic metals like arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead, which is even more reason to go easy on the commercial protein supplements.

In addition, a recent study in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that milk after weight training was a perfectly effective muscle building agent (compared  to carbohydrate drinks) in women weight trainers. This study added to a similar, previous study in which milk was superior to soy or carbohydrate drinks in male weight trainers.

The bottom line here is: Don't waste your money on expensive protein powders and drinks when a simple, effective, inexpensive and 'clean' product is already abundantly available.

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jun;42(6):1122-30. Body composition and strength changes in women with milk and resistance exercise. Josse AR, Tang JE, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Aug;86(2):373-81. Consumption of fat-free fluid milk after resistance exercise promotes greater lean mass accretion than does consumption of soy or carbohydrate in young, novice, male weightlifters. Hartman JW, Tang JE, Wilkinson SB, Tarnopolsky MA, Lawrence RL, Fullerton AV, Phillips SM.

June 9, 2010 at 6:06 pm
(1) Bill says:

Why are these metals in the products?

June 9, 2010 at 6:50 pm
(2) weighttraining says:

Bill, good question.

Metals like arsenic and cadmium are endemic in some soils, in some cases from excessive pesticide and fertilizer use. So perhaps it depends on the source of the protein and other constituents.

This would apply to all foods we eat of course.

Paul Rogers

June 9, 2010 at 8:59 pm
(3) David Meggyesy says:

I see there is an ad for Whey protein following the post. How does Whey fit in with your general comment about commercial proten drinks. Thanks.

June 9, 2010 at 9:00 pm
(4) Susan Kross, DVM [Kross Consultative Health & Fitness Services] says:

Having subscribed to the “Weight Training Blog” more than two years ago, I’ve found every entry to be highly informative. Above all, however, that of June 4 — promoting milk to fitness buffs, based on current research findings – pure and simply hit the bulls-eye!

As a member of a farm family and the Sullivan County [NY] Farm Network [SCFN], and therefore, someone who firmly believes “Ag is the Answer!”® to many of our local, state, and national socioeconomic woes, I can’t thank you enough for continuing to recommend milk as the perfect post weight-training food.

Dairy agriculturalists, should thus be super-proud of the product they and their bovines work so diligently to produce.

Yes, dairy farmers certainly deserve to walk with pride. But alas, do they not also deserve the right and ability to prosper?

Susan Kross, DVM
Kross Consultative Health & Fitness Services
Susan Kross Farms
Dairyland, NY

June 11, 2010 at 1:21 pm
(5) Bryan says:

I am of the understanding that comsuming a simple carbohydrate (I use dextrose dissolved in water)within 30 minutes after a workout is best as this will cause an insulin spike. Shortly after drinking the dextrose drink, I then do a whey (combo of isolate and concentrate) drink as I understand that this is absorbed quicker then the casein in milk. Any thoughts on this?

June 12, 2010 at 4:58 am
(6) weighttraining says:

David, the advertisements on this site are served by the ad network and the publisher. I write independently of this, if that answers your question.

To David and Bryan, I have no problem with whey as a protein source – it is a milk protein after all – and you can buy it independently of packaged protein supplement drinks in supermarkets and elsewhere, in many places.

The idea of boosting insulin response and then consuming protein is, more or less, theoretically sound for post-exercise recovery and muscle building. However, milk is a fine insulinogenic material by itself, and in many ways a ready-made package of proteins and carbohydrate. I’m no secret promoter of the dairy industry; I’m just stating the facts.

The dextrose and whey strategy should work well as far as that goes.

When it comes to fast and slow proteins, special formulations etc, I am skeptical of the bang you get for your buck with these commercial supplements. The influences on muscle building (if that’s what your aim is), are much wider than the post-workout protein drink – although replenishment is a sound strategy.

Genetics, overall nutrition, amount of work done, sleep and recovery, all considered, are going to be greater determinants of your success than what you might get from a specially formulated protein post workout compared to a perfectly adequate product like milk – or other complete proteins for that matter.

Regards, Paul Rogers

June 12, 2010 at 11:49 pm
(7) Rajiv says:

Science tells us that it is easier to digest yogurt as compared to milk because milk contains lactose which is changed to lactic acid in yogurt. So wouldn’t it be better idea to take yogurt instead of milk? Any thoughts?

June 13, 2010 at 3:59 am
(8) weighttraining says:

Rajiv, if you’re lactose intolerant, by all means eat yogurt. Many people don’t have a problem with lactose. Or, you could use the specially formulated lactose-free milks or protein supplements.

June 14, 2010 at 5:39 am
(9) Ronbo says:

Thank you for the advice about milk after workouts.

I’m only three months into my fitness routine and appreciate all the knowledge I can get.


June 18, 2010 at 5:55 pm
(10) Frank C. says:

I read, maybe a year ago and perhaps on this site, that chocolate milk is a pretty good after workout drink. Although I am not lactose intolerant and maybe because of the fat in milk, even 1% milk, I drink Almond Milk spiced with Vanilla. Does it matter in regards to this article which milk you use-5%, 1%, 1/2% or whatever.
Frank C.

June 19, 2010 at 12:56 am
(11) azim says:

thank you for such a wonderful advice, bcoz i have heared people saying that milk aint good and stress more on protein shakes. thank you very much. it means a lot to me

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